Today is a day, rain or shine, to which Ron Gitkos looks forward. It’s the annual Vettes for Vets Car Show fundraiser at his Valero service station on Wyoming Avenue in West Pittston.
Each year, Corvettes from all generations converge on the service station to raise money for the West Pittston 1st Lt. Jeffrey DePrimo American Legion.
The gathering will be from noon to 3 p.m. where there will be between 70 to 85 Corvettes on display, plenty of raffle items, food and entertainment on hand. A lucky winner can get a Vera Bradley bag or even an airplane ride.
Corvette owners: it’s only $10 to enter your car and, speaking from experience, those three hours fly by.
You can never do enough for a veteran or thank them enough for representing and defending our country. Some have, in the case of Ron’s nephew Jeffrey, given the ultimate price by dying for the rights we have today.
Jeff was 35 years old when he was killed in action in Afghanistan, near the town of Ghazni. He died alongside a Navy lieutenant and an interpreter on May 20, 2008. It’s hard to believe greater Pittston lost a native son 10 years ago.
I never met Jeff but I didn’t have to know him to know what a great guy he was. He was an accomplished guitarist and had a bachelor’s degree in music from Marywood University. I’ve seen a video of him playing guitar at a recording session at WVIA.
When it comes to veterans, Ron, a Navy vet himself, works tirelessly for the cause.
The car show is a lot of fun and, even if you don’t care for cars or Corvettes in particular, you should support the cause, if not for veterans, for Jeffrey. He was one of us who grew up in Pittston, was educated in Pittston and worked in Exeter.
The ultimate price he paid is still so deeply felt among his family and friends and yes, even though it’s been 10 years, the experience is still fresh in their minds.
It’s that time of year when high school and college students will graduate or have graduated recently. Pittston Area graduates Friday night and Wyoming Area graduates next Friday.
It’s hard to believe this is the 51st graduation for both schools.
As each year passes, especially since I graduated, I often wonder where everyone will end up. The majority of high school graduates will go to college and college graduates will be do their best to be gainfully employed.
College expenses are over the top and a four-year degree with room and board could cost up to $50,000 per year. It’s hard to justify a $200,000 education expense for a job that might pay $30,000 a year.
Luzerne County Community College (LCCC) is really your best bang for your buck and a great way to get two inexpensive college years under your belt. The college is constantly updating with new buildings, remodeled buildings, creating new programs of study and the faculty is top notch.
You can get a two-year degree and start working at a job immediately in a field that you don’t need a four-year degree for or take advantage of a one-year certificate program.
As an alumnus of LCCC with an A.A.S. in Journalism, I would not be writing this column or doing feature stories without that degree. LCCC gave me the tools I needed to get a career off the ground.
Writing styles have changed since I graduated from LCCC, but the solid foundation I received has helped me to adapt as time has gone on.
Not everyone will attend college. Some will enter the military, some will apprentice in the trades, while others may not have any interest in college and enter the workforce. Some may even settle down and raise a family.
Years ago, I read that only 25% of college graduates actually get a job using their college degree. That’s not a strong number. My nephew Nick just finished his college degree. Albeit a little later than planned, he made it to the finish line. He just accepted a senior marketing coordinator’s job in Colorado in, yes, the marijuana field. As he says, “it’s pretty ‘tyte.’”
I’m thrilled for him; it’s been a long road, but he made it and now I hope many doors open for him and he won’t have to take a back seat to anyone.
I don’t know what the future brings for college graduates this year, but whatever it is, remember to work hard, play hard, but mostly work hard. Learn to mix both effectively. Oftentimes people become so work driven, they forget how to play which results in getting burned out.
Remember to invest your money wisely. When it comes time to retire, you might have a little cushion money and investments that will allow you to live comfortably.
Above all, remember your parents. They’re the ones who got you to where you are.
Good luck the class of 2018!
Quote of the week
“Sow a thought, and you reap an act; sow an act, and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character, and you reap a destiny.” – Charles Reade, English novelist. This is dedicated to the Class of 2018.
Thought of the week
“A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes that he has got the biggest piece.” – Paul Gauguin, French painter
“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.” – George Sand, French romantic writer
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